Switzerland, thanks to International Geneva, is today the foremost centre of global governance, with over 2,700 international conferences and gatherings every year and 30 international organisations (IO) based in the region. About 200,000 experts and delegates and 3,000 heads of state, heads of government and ministers visit the city every year. The city hosts 172 permanent missions and an international community of more than 42,000 persons.
International Geneva is a major asset to a Swiss foreign policy because of the influence that our country acquires as a result of the city’s prominent role. It also benefits our domestic policy, providing privileged contacts with federal offices and information that is essential for the development of specific policies. Its importance for Switzerland as a whole is such that we can refer to International Switzerland thanks to the prominent role of Geneva. The impact of Geneva considerably exceeds the regional level. It is an opportunity and challenge that concerns the entire country.
However, International Switzerland, through Geneva, and its host state policy, is now faced with rapid changes in the international environment. Global governance is becoming more fragmented, there is increased competition from emerging states and IOs and their member States are experiencing budget problems as a result of the financial crisis.
To tackle these challenges the Federal Council believes that it is necessary to strengthen the attractiveness and competitiveness of Switzerland as a host state and as a centre of global governance. The strategy that it has adopted for this purpose is the result of the work of the International Geneva task force created in November 2012 by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). This body worked together with the Permanent Joint Political Group (GPCP), a forum for dialogue between the Confederation and the Canton, with which the City of Geneva is associated. There are two main pillars of this strategy, and six priorities.
Improvements will be made to the host state instruments, especially in the renovation of buildings and equipment. The strategy also stresses the need to develop Genevan and Swiss training, reflection and know-how in the field of global governance, for example by anticipating topics that are likely to be on the international agenda and by enhancing the profile of the actors in Geneva dealing with these subjects. Potential synergies resulting from the unique ensemble in a single location of international organisations, permanent missions, non-governmental organisations and academic institutions also need to be exploited more effectively. A joint observatory will be established to closely monitor developments in the international sector in Geneva.
The implementation of this strategy means that communication on Switzerland's host state policy and cooperation between the authorities concerned will also need to be strengthened. A think tank known as "Geneva +" will be established, with a mandate to discuss the future challenges of International Geneva and the evolution of global governance.
For further information:
Head Information FDFA
+41 (0)79 763 84 10
International organizations in Switzerland
Address for enquiries:
+41 (0)31 322 31 53